Bouncing back from… miscarriage – Ellen’s Story

Ellen, 35

8 weeks pregnant.

Miscarriage is something that I have been thinking of lately due to the fact that I am a 35-year-old woman who is nearly nine weeks pregnant. My husband and I are excited, nervous and all those other things you feel when pregnant with a somewhat planned baby but I can’t help thinking back to an experience I had when I was younger and worrying that it will happen again.

Before I started university I had a bit of time off after school and worked as a receptionist, however I was disillusioned with working life as it was not the glamorous life I thought it was when I was still at school, looking up to my older friends with office jobs and flats thinking they had it made… was boring, monotonous and to top it off I had a very overweight, divorced, bitter 40 year old boss who bullied me. One day when I couldn’t take it anymore I quit my job and called my mother to tell her I was going to go away for a while, I wanted to get out of town and do something before I went to university. Two weeks later I took a train, a boat and a bus and landed in new town where I had a few acquaintances and got a job and a flat sorted. I lived the normal life of a newly turned 19-year-old teen, working during the week and partying on the weekends. One particular raucous Saturday night I met a guy, I don’t even recall his name, but we did what teenagers who have drunk too much do and the next morning I woke up in his sleep-out in the back garden of his parents’ house feeling slightly ashamed. I did the bolt, walked home, showered and tried to forget the whole horrible one night stand I just had and got on with things. Weeks passed and I didn’t get my period, I tried to tell myself it was the stress of moving, the fact I was pretty skint all the time and therefore didn’t eat very much, anything but to face the truth that due to this one night stand I could possibly be pregnant. Time passed and I pretended that whatever was happening wasn’t, I continued to smoke, drink, go out, I worked all day, danced all night and lived like everything was normal, telling no one of what was happening. Eventually I had to face facts and made an appointment at the Family Planning centre to discuss how to have an abortion. The day before the appointment I went to the toilet and noticed that I had started bleeding. I remember feeling relieved that it was all just a mistake, it was exactly what I thought; some sort of stress and I skipped a period for some reason or other (not that I had ever skipped a period before but it seemed legit). I put in a tampon and happily went about my day.

That evening I was sitting on this sofa on the deck outside the flat I lived in having a telephone conversation with a close friend from back home when I had this feeling that I was leaking, but ignoring it for the time I carried on the conversation with her and we talked for around an hour more. When I finished the call I got up and I remember it was like a horror scene, blood was down the inside of my pants – all the way down to my knees, the sleeping bag I had wrapped around myself was also covered in blood too. I stripped and put everything into the washing machine, I went to the toilet and as it was so sodden the tampon slid straight out of me, followed by something else. I remember bending down and looking into the toilet for ages steering at this tiny half formed foetus thing and wondered whether I was supposed to just flush it away….not knowing what else to do eventually that is exactly what I did. I then got a fresh pad organised and went to bed putting the whole nasty experience right out of my mind. I went to my family planning appointment as planned the next day and told the nurse that I had a miscarriage the night before, I really don’t think she believed me at first but she asked me to do a pregnancy test and explained that as it was only last night that I had the miscarriage I would still have pregnancy hormones so if I had been pregnant then the test would still come out as positive, which it did. I told her that I saw the little foetus come out of me but now I was extremely worried as I explained to her what I could only describe as bits of steak that were coming out of me. She tried to hide a laugh and explained they were blood clots and that I would continue to pass these as I ‘empty out’. Then we discussed contraception going forwards and that was the only conversation I ever had about the experience. Afterwards I just pretended that it never happened and tried not to feel guilty or like I was a bad person because I was glad that it happened, I was pleased I had a miscarriage and felt that if it didn’t happen then the alternative would have been even worse.

The problem is that I think at the time I miscarried I was around 9 weeks along and now that I am pregnant again, but under completely different circumstances, I can’t help thinking that it will happen again. Some sort of karma for the fact that I didn’t want to be pregnant back then and as I count the days as they pass during this pregnancy the hoping and wishing I have are very different this time around.  What helps?  Taking to a really close girlfriend who has gone through a similar situation has been amazing.  Trying to think positively and not worry too much.  When I know I’m thinking about things over and over I try and get out of the house or go and do something to take my mind of it.  I also have been using relaxation techniques like yoga and breathing to help me stay positive.  I like hearing about positive stories of people who have had miscarriages and then go on to have healthy babies.  It helps me to think that we’re going to be ok.

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